Southeast Asia is still not a truly safe area as long as there are countries with nuclear weapons.
Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Southeast Asia must remain an area free of nuclear weapons, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said while chairing a meeting of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Commission on Tuesday (July 11) in Jakarta.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Retno said that the risk of using nuclear weapons is currently at the highest level compared to other historical periods.
“Southeast Asia is still not a truly safe area as long as there are countries with nuclear weapons,” Retno stated.
With the existence of nuclear weapons, one miscalculation would trigger a global disaster, she said, while deploring that there are countries that still adhere to a military doctrine based on nuclear weapons in the Southeast Asian region.
“Maintaining peace and stability in the region is our priority. This is the foundation for making the Southeast Asian region the Epicentrum of Growth. We must therefore keep the Southeast Asian region free from nuclear weapons,” according to her.
The SEANWFZ Treaty has contributed to the efforts on global disarmament and non-proliferation regime. However, for the past 25 years no country with nuclear weapons has signed the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol.
Together with other ASEAN foreign ministers, Retno called on countries possessing nuclear weapons to immediately sign the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol.
In 2022, the SEANWFZ Commission agreed to explore options for nuclear-weapon states to first sign the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol, as long as these countries are committed to this protocol.
“We must unite to create a path to a nuclear-weapon-free zone,” she said.
In Indonesia’s national statement, Foreign Minister Retno raised the ratification of the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol by countries possessing nuclear weapons and the importance of the SEANWFZ Treaty Biennial Resolution.
During the meeting, ASEAN foreign ministers reaffirmed the political will to urge nuclear weapon states to accede to the SEANWFZ Treaty Protocol.
The meeting also discussed the review of the implementation of the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty.
In addition, the foreign ministers agreed to assign a working group to discuss this issue further. The meeting also successfully adopted a Concept Note on the Possible Joint Initiatives of OPANAL and ASEAN in 2023.
Editing by Indonesia Window